Horrifying photos of the 'river' of garbage plaguing Beirut

Beirut trash

Hasan Shaaban/Reuters

The capital of Lebanon is being flooded by a literal pile of garbage.

A river of refuse, which snakes through Beirut's suburb of Jdeideh, has been building there since the city's main landfill shut down last July.

Here's a glimpse of the stinking problem:Advertisement

(Images and some captions from Reuters)

The problem started last July, when city authorities shut down the main landfill without opening an alternative dumping site.

The problem started last July, when city authorities shut down the main landfill without opening an alternative dumping site.

Source: Reuters, CNN

Residents opened a makeshift dump in the yard of a residential building, and it's only been growing since then.

Residents opened a makeshift dump in the yard of a residential building, and it's only been growing since then.

Source: Reuters, CNN

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Experts say the trash crisis is a symptom of bigger problems for the country, many of which have worsened since the civil war in neighboring Syria began.

Experts say the trash crisis is a symptom of bigger problems for the country, many of which have worsened since the civil war in neighboring Syria began.

Source: Reuters

The Lebanese government has not been able to pass a budget since 2005; the office of president has been empty for more than a year.

The Lebanese government has not been able to pass a budget since 2005; the office of president has been empty for more than a year.

Sources: New York Times, Reuters

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At one point, British company Chinook Urban Mining agreed to export some of the waste to Russia.

At one point, British company Chinook Urban Mining agreed to export some of the waste to Russia.

Source: Reuters, CNN

But the company didn't get the necessary paperwork done, and the deal fell through.

But the company didn't get the necessary paperwork done, and the deal fell through.

Source: Reuters

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Residents worry about the risk that the growing river of garbage may pose to their health. In spite of a government ban, people have been burning the garbage, which releases toxic pollutants and carcinogens into the air.

Residents worry about the risk that the growing river of garbage may pose to their health. In spite of a government ban, people have been burning the garbage, which releases toxic pollutants and carcinogens into the air.

Source: Reuters

The untreated garbage also threatens to contaminate Beirut's water supply.

The untreated garbage also threatens to contaminate Beirut's water supply.

Source: Reuters

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The crisis has sparked protests, with people calling for Minister of the Environment Mohamad Al Machnouk to resign. Here, some protesters are seen leaving garbage at an entrance to the environment ministry in downtown Beirut on September 15, 2015.

The crisis has sparked protests, with people calling for Minister of the Environment Mohamad Al Machnouk to resign. Here, some protesters are seen leaving garbage at an entrance to the environment ministry in downtown Beirut on September 15, 2015.

Sources: Lebanese Republic Ministry of Information, Reuters

On Lebanon's Independence Day, November 22, 2015, another group of protesters wore black T-shirts that read, respectively: "Corrupt minister, leader from 60 years, bribe."

On Lebanon's Independence Day, November 22, 2015, another group of protesters wore black T-shirts that read, respectively: "Corrupt minister, leader from 60 years, bribe."

Source: Reuters

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While the problem has not been resolved, some residents have taken an active role in sorting the trash. Here, recyclable plastic bottles are seen piling up in Beirut's Martyrs' Square.

While the problem has not been resolved, some residents have taken an active role in sorting the trash. Here, recyclable plastic bottles are seen piling up in Beirut's Martyrs' Square.

Source: Reuters

Despite these efforts, the problem is still growing.

Despite these efforts, the problem is still growing.

Source: Reuters

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And there's no solution in sight.

And there's no solution in sight.

Source: Reuters